Wigan Warriors Community Foundation have played a huge part in creating a happier Easter break for thousands of local families in need of a helping hand, thanks to some vital holiday activities in recent weeks.
In the UK there are over 1.4 million children and young people who qualify for free school meals, with around 13,000 of those here in Wigan. To ease the pressure on families who were unable to access the regular meal service for their child while schools were closed for the holiday period, our Community Foundation has successfully partnered with Wigan Council to deliver free sports camps, with lunch included, thanks to their Holiday Activity and Food Programme.
Alongside this, during the first week of the Easter half term, Wigan Warriors were the only provider in the borough to offer SEND (Special Educational Needs) specific sporting activities for children and young people to access thanks to funding available from Wigan Council. Children had the opportunity to visit Robin Park Arena, alongside the Wigan Warriors first team squad and take part in different Sports and Activities across the four-day camp.
We also offered activities at four community clubs across the borough: Leigh Miners, Ashton Bears, St Judes and Ince Rose Bridge, alongside our own Rugby League camps. In total, Wigan Warriors Community Foundation, alongside Wigan Council, provided 75 free meals to children through the Wigan Council’s Fit & Fed Programme with a total of 190 children and young people attending our Rugby League camps, in the week 6th-9th April.
Mike Stoneley, inclusion officer at Wigan Warriors Community Foundation, explained: “We are looking forward to providing even more opportunities for children and young people to access holiday provision in the borough in the future.
“To be the only sports provider to offer this during the Easter school holidays is a great achievement and something that we would love to continue.
“We are already looking for ways to increase our SEND specific provision for the May half-term and even during the Summer and October holidays.
“SEND camps will now be a permanent fixture in our community camp calendar, helping to expand our disability offer with Learning Disability and Physical Disability Rugby League also being joined by Wheelchair Rugby League later this year!”
Professor Kate Arden, director of public health at Wigan Council, added: “When the pandemic threatened to thwart this invaluable service, we needed to re-think how it would be delivered.
“The programme provides a safe space for some of our young people when they can try out new activities and through delivering the scheme over the years, we know the children involved really love the opportunities this programme gives them.”
For more information about our holiday provision, please contact Mike Stoneley via [email protected].